1 Enoch 106-108 and the OT: Literary Relationship?

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Here is a link to my presentation notes on 1 Enoch 106-108 for our OT colloquium last spring. The majority of the document consists of collections of similar 1 Enoch and OT passages organized according to theme. Feel free to let me know what you think. Nickelsburg’s Hermeneia commentary is the first place to go for info on 1 Enoch. I followed his commentary closely as I prepared for the talk, but the conclusion is my own:

Whether or not there is a literary relationship between Daniel and 1 Enoch 106-107 is tentative at best. Nevertheless, in light of the numerous similarities between 1 Enoch 106-107 and Genesis 5-9 a literary relationship between the these two texts is almost certain. The author of 1 Enoch 106-107 uses the literary world and characters of Genesis 5-9 to communicate his message of future judgment of sinners and reward for the righteous.  The genre of 1 Enoch 106-107 could be described as historical fiction[1] apocalyptically framed. Genesis 5-9 is a (perhaps “the”) key text behind the enochic literature and tradition. Enoch’s ascension into heaven, his escape of death, his heavenly dwelling and presumed divine perspective make him a curious biblical character, one that piques the curiosity of the imaginative reader, perhaps inclining one to ask, “What would Enoch say about this broken world and the suffering that righteous people experience?” Noah serves as a prototypical figure that signals the imminent arrival of both judgment and salvation. The author of 1 Enoch 106-107 uses these two characters to communicate that the world will continue to be filled with wickedness as it was before the flood until a truly righteous generation arises. When the righteous generation arises, the wicked will be wiped away as they were by the flood.

Concerning 1 Enoch 108, the biblical texts with which there are the most notable similarities are NT texts that describe “hell” as a place of fiery torment. 1 Enoch 108 could be dependent upon the NT, or perhaps the author of 1 Enoch 108 and the authors of the NT are independently interpreting the OT concept of Sheol in light a common first century jewish tradition.


[1] à la Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord or Paul Maier’s Pontius Pilate

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